George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hancock, 16 June 1776

To John Hancock

New York June 16. 1776


I do myself the honor to transmit Congress a Copy of a Letter covering Copies of other papers, which I received yesterday Evening from Genl Sullivan. The Intelligence communicated by him, is pleasing and Interesting, and such as must afford the greatest satisfaction, If the conduct the Canadians have discovered since his arrival among them, is Ingenuous & sincere. His Account is contrasted by General Arnolds Letter to Genl Schuyler, of which a Copy is also transmitted.1

General Sullivan mentions his having given Commissions to some of the Canadians as a measure founded in necessity, and requests my approbation of It; but not considering myself empowered to say any thing upon the Subject, It may not be improper for Congress to give him their Opinion in this Instance.2

I have also Inclosed Copies of Genl Schuylers Letters received at the same time. they contain accounts respecting the Indians variant from what were reported by Mr Kirkland, but amounting to the same thing, the probability of the Savages attacking our Frontiers.3

By last nights post I had information of a Capture made by our Armed Vessels, of One of the Transports with a Company of Highlanders on board, bound to Boston—The Inclosed Extract from Genl Wards Letter to me will give you the Intelligence more particularly4—there are Accounts in the City mentioning other valuable prizes, but as Genl Ward has said nothing of them, I fear they want authenticity.

I beg leave to mention that a further sum of money will be wanted for our military Chest by the Time It can be sent—the Inclosed Note from the Paymaster-General shews the necessity for It—& I may add, besides his Estimate of Drafts to be made, there are the Claims of the Eastern Troops at Boston for three or four months pay not Included, and now due.5

Col. McGaw is arrived with part of his Battalion and by Wednesday Evening the whole, both of his & Col. Shee’s will be here as I am told.6

As It is, and may be of great Importance to have a communication with the Jerseys & Long Island, I have had several Flat bottom boats built for the purpose, and have thoughts of getting more for Pasaic & Hackinsac Rivers, where they may be equally necessary for transporting our Army or part of It occasionally, or Succours coming to or going from It. I have the honor to be with Sentiments of the greatest respect Sir Yr Most Obed. Servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; LB, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; copy, DLC: Hancock Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 18 June (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:459). The LS is endorsed in part “referred to the board of War & Ordinance.”

1In the letter-book copy this sentence begins: “His account is contradicted.” GW sent Congress copies of Sullivan’s letter to him of 5–6 June, Schuyler’s letters to him of 11–12 and 12 June, and the enclosures accompanying those letters including Arnold’s letter to Schuyler of 6 June, a copy of which was enclosed in Schuyler’s first letter to GW of 12 June. For the text of Arnold’s letter, see note 1 to that letter.

2On 19 June Congress resolved that Sullivan’s commissions “be approved and confirmed, provided, General Gates and the general officers in Canada, on consultation, shall think the measure will conduce to the public service” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:465).

3A copy of Samuel Kirkland’s letter to Schuyler of 8 June, reporting growing hostility toward the Americans among the Six Nations, was enclosed in Schuyler’s letter to Hancock of 10 June, which GW forwarded to Philadelphia, on 13 June. Schuyler apparently left both letters open for GW to read (DNA:PCC, item 153; see also GW to Hancock, 13 June, and note 1).

4For the capture of the British transport vessel Anne, see Artemas Ward to GW, 9 June, and note 2. The enclosed extract consists of a copy of the second paragraph of that letter (DNA:PCC, item 152).

6The following Wednesday was 19 June. For the sending of these Pennsylvania regiments from Philadelphia, see GW to Hancock, 10 June, and Hancock to GW, 11 June.

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